I had a delightful revelation last week...
I have spent most of my life trying desperately to fit in and blend in. I traveled a lot and was usually a minority and very obviously an "outsider." In order to make friends quickly and efficiently (before I had to move again) I did my best to "be all things to all people." Sometimes this meant not liking things I really did like, or liking things I really didn't care for. Sometimes it meant caring deeply for things I really thought were stupid, and sometimes it meant turning the volume down on things I was really passionate about.
This unfortunate habit followed me into marriage and motherhood. I've found myself criticizing myself for things I felt or did if they didn't fit into the "mother" and "wife" molds that supposedly exist somewhere. For example, I am not a great home maker. Normally I would say this in a negative and self-deprecating way, as though it's something I am or should be striving for. In reality, I am perfectly fine with my lack of home-making abilities. It's not that I don't appreciate those qualities (I LOVE clean homes, home made meals, and parties with themes), it's that I am perfectly ok with the fact that my house isn't always clean, that I make just as many not-so-great-meals as I do great meals, and that my idea of a great party consists of friends and food (and I don't think much beyond that!). In the past I may have apologized for my home being "messy" when really it didn't look that bad to me, and I may have acted embarrassed for not sending invites in the mail when I really would never would have intended to in the first place. I probably would have judged myself on my own home upon entering a beautifully put together home of a friend, or felt judged when receiving a hand made party invitation from someone I had simply invited to my party via facebook.
Then something happened last week when I woke up and suddenly asked, WHY? Why torture myself about what I am not, when I really like who I actually am? It's not that I'm completely content and love everything about myself. No. But I do like a lot of things about myself. And that's not all--and this is a big one--you ready for this? I've realized that it's not only ok that I like things about myself, but that I'm allowed to like things about myself EVEN when other people don't! Isn't that crazy?? I'm a little dumbfounded and completely overjoyed with the freedom that comes with that realization! I don't need to want to be like other people, and I don't need to justify not being like them, and I don't need to judge myself or them for our differences! Seriously, how has it taken me so long to realize that this is ok? It just hit me as I found myself comparing myself to women who I am nothing like, who I didn't actually even want to be like! However, I really liked these women and I admired their their incredible skills. Then it hit me. I really liked these women, even though I didn't want to be just like them. Wait a minute. People might like me, even if they don't want to be like me? And if they don't like me, that doesn't mean I can't like me? So... I can be... me? Just me?
Yes, Faith. Being you is A-OK. Don't you forget it. (#267 cliche lesson Faith learns for the very first time.)
Also, I should add: Just because someone may think they can do a better job at parenting, doesn't mean you're not a good parent! (Especially if they don't even have children... but ignore them regardless!)